Newly Created Role will Focus on Further Diversifying the Firm’s Geographic Business Mix, Arent Jan Hesselink Named EMEA CEO
LONDON, May 23, 2023 – Edelman has named Ed Williams to the role of President, International, effective July 1. A 12-year veteran of the firm, he will now oversee Edelman’s APAC, EMEA, Canada and Latin America regions with the CEOs of those geographies reporting to him. Williams will be charged with ensuring that the firm’s strategy is executed across all international regions while working to further diversify Edelman’s global revenue mix. He will continue to report to Matthew J. Harrington, global President and Chief Operating Officer.
“Being a global firm today requires more attention and investment to ensure that the opportunity and complexity of markets around the world are fully recognized and that our strategy and its execution is a reflection of these realities,” said Harrington. “Ed’s achievements leading EMEA coupled with his experience working across multiple geographies makes him the ideal candidate to ensure we deepen connections across APAC, EMEA, Canada and LATAM, while strengthening our delivery against clients’ evolving needs internationally.”
Williams is currently President and CEO of EMEA. In this role, he set a new strategic vision for EMEA, which focused on breaking down geographic borders, integrating various specialties and bringing the best of Edelman’s network of experts together across the region to address client needs. Under his leadership, the EMEA business has grown by 25 percent since 2019. Williams also supported the growth of Edelman’s largest clients in the Middle East in addition to providing counsel to high-profile business and government leaders on strategic communications and crisis response.
Prior to leading EMEA, Williams served as CEO of UK and Ireland, where he more than doubled the revenue of the business, moving Edelman from number 5 in the market to number 1. Before joining Edelman, Williams led corporate affairs and communications for the BBC and Reuters. He also spent five years at Brunswick before which he had a career as a network television journalist.
“It has been a huge privilege over the last few years to work alongside brilliant leaders in our EMEA region. Together, we have not only significantly improved performance, but critically we’ve built a collaborative culture that sets the region up for future success. At our best we should be two things at once: deeply local, while at the same time geographically agnostic, matching the right talent to the right client at the right moment. This approach will shape a new international strategy,” said Williams. “I am delighted to be handing the regional reins to AJ Hesselink, a leader who is deeply committed to our clients and our people.”
Arent Jan Hesselink Named President and CEO of EMEA
Succeeding Williams as CEO of EMEA is Arent Jan (AJ) Hesselink. Currently Chief Operating Officer for EMEA, Hesselink will now oversee the firm’s 17 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and join the firm’s Executive Leadership Team. He will report to Williams.
Hesselink joined Edelman almost eight years ago and, as COO of EMEA, has played a major role in driving transformation across the region, including building a new operating system that powered growth in EMEA. He has led the expansion of the regional client portfolio, particularly supporting with growth in the Middle East, and has extensive experience in leading corporate communications for multinational conglomerates. Previously he led Edelman Amsterdam, which doubled in size under his leadership. Before joining the firm Hesselink spent more than nine years working at Philips where he held senior leadership roles in Philips’ global integrated marketing function, and was CMO for the Asia Pacific region, working out of Singapore. He began his career as a business journalist for Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, leading the organization’s Benelux business.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Edelman EMEA into our next chapter. As COO of the region for the past four years, it has been a privilege to partner with Ed and our excellent leadership bench to advance our strategy and client-centric operating model across EMEA,” said Hesselink. “There is so much opportunity for Edelman in the region. The caliber of talent, our highly collaborative culture and our strategy of international integration fill me with optimism about what we can achieve together for our clients.”